Wednesday, October 7, 2020

IWSG: When I became a "Working Writer"

 


Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month. You know what that means! It's time to let our insecurities hang out. Yep, it's the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. If you're a writer at any stage of career, I highly recommend this blog hop as a way to connect with other writers for support, sympathy, ideas, and networking.

If you're a reader, it's a great way to peek behind the curtain of a writing life.

October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!
_________________________________________________
 
I've always been a writer (like since I could hold a writing utensil), but I've only considered myself a "working writer"for about five years, starting with the publication of my first novel. Before that I was a semi-serious hobbyist: I *did* care about finishing and polishing my work and I *did* seek publication, but it was casual, with very little pressure (internal or external) to do so at any particular speed, so I did very little, collecting maybe 1-3 small scale publication credits a year at most.
 
When writing became part of my day every day, when I started thinking about it terms of career and not just in the momentary challenge of the piece of writing in front of me, that's when I made the shift. 
 
Of course, I'm still part time. I write alongside a teaching career, so my writing life is allocated to 1-2 hours a day most days, during which I write new material, handle any business there is to handle, and work on promotional activities for the work I've already produced. 
 
Image Source

It's not enough time, but until the writing pays enough in dollars to support my end of the family finances, it's what I'll do. At this point, I'm near enough retiring from teaching that I think I'll remain a part timer until then. It seems wise to hold onto the greater financial security that day job gives me, even if it slows my progress on my writing career.  

Even doing it part time, though, it's different than it was. Maybe the shifts are mostly internal, but those internal shifts have made external changes as well: lengthening my list of works on Amazon because it's easier to sell *finished* work, leading to opportunities to share/speak/teach about building a writing life, and being invited to submit work based on the strength of past work (which is WAAAAY nicer than the cold call submission process when it happens). 

Defining the lines between hobby and work is individual. What matters, I think, is how it feels to you. I'd love to hear from other creatives who have or are considering crossing that line from "for fun" into "as work." What does the link look like from whichever side you're looking at it from?

10 comments:

  1. I have a LOT of respect for teachers! My husband taught middle school science in NC for seven years, and I saw first hand how much work and hours go into it! And then to be able to write on the side like the way you? Wow... Hope you'll be able to go full time as a writer once you're "retired!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! It's definitely not an easy balance all the time, but I think my writing life helps me set boundaries for my teaching life, and that's a healthy thing. Teaching is a job that will eat you alive if you let it.

      Delete
  2. I think if your goal is to eventually publish, then it would be more than just a hobby. I only have one short piece published, though, so I wouldn't really call myself a working writer yet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's good way to think of it . . .in terms of goals. I like that.

      Delete
  3. I think it's smart to write part-time and have another paying job to help your family. I have to work at a paying job still too so only write when I can.

    ReplyDelete
  4. A lot of writers have day jobs to support themselves while they write. I'm doing that now myself.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree, there is never enough time for writing. But especially when you have a day job making claims on your time!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I write part-time as well. Though I also write for myself, I write to establish myself as a published writer. As well as to one day able to support myself and family financially with my work. Until then, I'll be part-timing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love your "Happiness" quote. True! I hope you continue finding your happiness.

    ReplyDelete